Recontres d’Arles Discovery Award 2013

Congratulations to Rozenn Quere and her co-contributor Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh for winning the Recontres d’Arles Discovery Award 2013 earlier this month with their series “Possible and Imaginary Lives”.

Rozenn worked with me at the National Gallery for a while whilst she was a student in Paris and it’s good to see she is still working successfully.

If you want any information regarding the Recontres d’Arles Festival please follow the following link:


“5:15pm is a regular kick-off time in the football calendar”

So say the Football Association in response the Manchester City and Wigan Athletic fans who won’t be able to travel home by train that day if they stay to the end of the game and would like the match scheduled earlier in the day. It drew me back to a picture, below, I took a couple of months ago, just testing out some lights lamenting the demise of the traditional 3 o’clock kick-off. I decided to take the picture as I was fed up with my team, West Ham United, playing at odd times and never being quite sure when they were playing next.

Traditional 3 o'clock football kick off
Traditional 3 o’clock football kick off time.

So I apologize to the Football Association for forgetting that 5:15pm is the “regular” kick-off time and at the earliest opportunity I will retake the picture with the correct time.

China Madness?

Guangzhou Power Station 2010
Guangzhou Power Station 2010

I’ve been going through some old photographs I took in China a few years ago and thought I’d share the picture above. Not because it is a particularly great photograph, although it does remind me a little of the poster for Tarrantino’s Reservoir Dogs taken from the rear rather than the front, but more for how it perfectly illustrates to me China’s economic ambitions whilst still trying to maintain the social structure of the state. Three of the people in the picture are the Director and Deputy Director of the Guangdong Art Museum in Guangzhou and their architect. They are showing guests around a disused coal powered power station on the outskirts of Guangzhou that they are planning to turn into a modern art gallery along a similar vein to Tate Modern. So why is this picture of interest? well at the time of taking the picture we were informed that the bulldozers were to move in within 6 weeks. 6 weeks? look at the trees and the hedge, look at the roadway swept of leaves, just the general cleanliness. The hedges were cut to represent the dragon and there were a team of gardeners working all around in gardens that were to be flattened in 6 weeks. Madness? who knows, employment is maintained and workers appear to have pride in their work, but is it worth it?

As a postscript I never knew if the Gallery ever opened, at the time I thought it was an ambitious plan. The Guangzhou power station could have accommodated at least 2-3 Tate Moderns but they certainly had self belief and veryy ambitious plans.


Ski resort Les Contanimes, France.
Ski resort Les Contanimes, France.
Olympic Stadium, Stratford.
Olympic Stadium, Stratford.

A couple of panorama’s produced using Photomerge and some handheld images taken with a compact camera. The first is from Les Contanimes, France. The second is from an evening at the Paralympic games last summer. I’ve used photomerge in the past to produce giga pixel images of works of art under strict lighting and exposure conditions  but thought I’d produce a couple of images using some quick hand held images to see how well it works.

Photographing Works of Art

Colour Managed Photograph of a Work of Art
Colour Managed Photograph of a Work of Art

When photographing an artists work of art it is important that the capture is optimized to ensure the integrity of the work whilst maximising the detail of the original. This can only be done by optimising the entire capture process.

To optimize the capture system the following criteria needs to be reviewed:

  • Ensure the maximum Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) is used to extract maximum detail.
  • Ensure your optical system is optimised for the lighting system that is used. Not all lighting systems are the same and in general the more you pay the better the system. This doesn’t mean a cheaper system cannot be used, just that a little more care maybe required to get the best results.
  • Ensure the signal to noise ratio of the system is set to give maximum detail. This usually just means setting the lowest ISO value on the camera.
  • There is a means to manage and understand the colour of the image to those without access to the original art work. At a base level this can mean just having a known colour chart within the image plane as a reference.
  • Make sure the image colour space is suitable for the uses you want the files to be used for in the future. Most monitors are sRGB but the print industry like Adobe RGB. There are other spaces that could also be suitable and some that are much larger but you would need to decide whether these are suitable for you.
  • Capture the work at an identical tone to the original. This means if your original is dark and with little contrast the captured image reflects that. If for output purposes this doesn’t reproduce well later then you can always tweak the image to your satisfaction although this would be best done in a separate layer of the image file to preserve the integrity of the original capture.

John Bartlett – London Sublime

Had an enjoyable morning, last Friday, photographing John’s installation piece and discussing West Ham United (amongst other things) at his exhibition,”London Sublime” at the Guildhall Art Gallery so I thought I’d put up a few pictures from the opening night.

The exhibition finishes this week so if you’re interested you haven’t got long to have a look.

The Guildhall Art Gallery, Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HH.



Lepe Beach, Hampshire.

A few photographs of a sunny Sunday morning stroll along Lepe Beach. The pictures show the remains of the strategic role Lepe played during the Normandy Landings in the second world war.

Lepe was a secret manufacturing site for parts of the temporary Mulberry Harbours erected for the invasion and was also used as an embarkation point for equipment and troops.

Jupiter and the Moon close together on 28th November 2012.

If you missed it or didn’t know about it, Jupiter could be easily seen to the left of the moon last night so here are a couple of pictures to look at.

AHFAP 2012 Quick Review

It was interesting to listen to Alan Newman’s presentation at the Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography conference last week announcing that images of works of art from the National Gallery Washington in the public domain can now be downloaded and used for free for any use in future. He reported that the economic model of charging for images no longer works and that newer revenue streams are now being explored.

This presentation was then followed by James Davis of Google Art demonstrating how Google is attempting to bring together a single point of entry to exploration of the cultural heritage and archive sectors.

It appears that if you follow the thread of the combination of these two presentations photographers and cultural institutions may need to rethink their future financial models.

AHFAP Membership and Conference 2012

I’ve just organized my membership for the Association of Historical and Fine Art Photography for another year and booked a place at their annual conference taking place at the Dulwich Picture Gallery on 19th November 2012.

I’m particularly looking forward to having a chat with Alan Newman from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, regarding giga pixel and hyperspectral imaging.

I know the National Gallery of Art were looking seriously at undertaking more giga pixel imaging so I’m quite keen to pick his brains about their experiences, and compare it with my experiences of producing the giga pixel image for the artist Ralph Heimans Diamond Jubilee portrait of HRH the Queen.

The full days events for the conference are:

9.15 am – Registration and coffee
10.00 am – Welcome, introduction and house-keeping
10.10 am – Dulwich Picture Gallery
10.20 am – Annette King  from the  Tate Gallery will speak on a project to x-ray some of the gallery’s paintings by Picasso
10.50 am – James Davis from Google talks about Google Art
11.20 am – Alan Newman of the National Gallery of Art Washington DC will talk about their free image download service
11.50 am – ‘Terry Dennett, 60  years in photography’, a presentation and short video

12.30 pm – Lunch

2.00 pm – James Stevenson talks about the life and work of photographer Claude Cahun
2.45 pm – Sophie Gordon from the Royal Collection will speak on the collection’s extensive photographic archive
3. 30 pm – Dave Baker, an urban guerrilla photographer, will speak about his recent visit to Chernobyl

4.20 pm – Association Annual General Meeting


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